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Transponder in aircraft with no engine driven power source.

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Streffpilot

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Hi, I was searching today, and could not find anything conclusive on the subject.

I am building a Minimax Eros, which will have no ENGINE DRIVEN power system. It may have a small battery to power a radio and some lights.

Do I need a transponder to fly class C airspace? I seem to find mixed answers.

For sure you can't use class B, and may have issues in the class C vail, but that isn't a concern, but class C is all around me, and I can't afford the weight of the alternator, transponder, etc, etc..... on the airplane.



I know Pops is all about not having any alternator, but really need to find some hard evidence on the situation.
 

TFF

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The loop is this; if you do not have a engine driven generator, you do not need a transponder to be certified legal. If you fly in A,B,C airspace you must have a transponder unless you can get them to let you in, which is flight by flight. If you add a generator, and play by the rules, you must add a transponder, and you are not suppose to remove it. If you add a transponder, you might as well add a generator, because you are not suppose to remove it from then on either. Down the road think ADSB because ADSB will tack on with the transponder requirements. Also remember the transponder rules are not written in the aircraft FARs, they are under 91. The pilot is in violation not the airplane.
 

TFF

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You can fly under the veil with no transponder with no generator. Unless you are going to fly that into Chicago, Milwaukee, or Madison, you are good. You are crazy if you fly it to Chicago anyway.
 

Pops

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Hi, I was searching today, and could not find anything conclusive on the subject.

I am building a Minimax Eros, which will have no ENGINE DRIVEN power system. It may have a small battery to power a radio and some lights.

Do I need a transponder to fly class C airspace? I seem to find mixed answers.



For sure you can't use class B, and may have issues in the class C vail, but that isn't a concern, but class C is all around me, and I can't afford the weight of the alternator, transponder, etc, etc..... on the airplane.



I know Pops is all about not having any alternator, but really need to find some hard evidence on the situation.
I live in the middle of no-where in a county of 5808 people and not a stop light.
 

kent Ashton

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Concord, NC
I am building a Minimax Eros, which will have no ENGINE DRIVEN power system. It may have a small battery to power a radio and some lights.

Do I need a transponder to fly class C airspace? I seem to find mixed answers.
My friend, learn how to read to parse the FARS Federal Aviation Regulation Sec. 91.215 - ATC transponder and altitude reporting equipment and use. They don't make it easy but here goes:

(b) All airspace. Unless otherwise authorized or directed by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft in the airspace described in paragraphs (b)(1) through (b)(5) of this section, unless that aircraft is equipped with an operable coded radar beacon transponder . . .
So ordinarily an aircraft must have a transponder in the following airspace.

(1) All aircraft. In Class A, Class B, and Class C airspace areas;
Easy one. That answers your question. You can't go into actual Class A, B, C because you don't have a transponder, but what about operating under class B & C. That is, within the lateral boundaries? Keep reading

(2) All aircraft. In all airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part from the surface upward to 10,000 feet MSL;
Clear enough. Ordinarily one needs a transponder to operate within 30 NM of an appendix D, Sec 1 airport, i.e., the Class B airports, However, you are subject to an exception with regard to (b)(2) above. Here it is:

(3) Notwithstanding paragraph (b)(2) of this section, any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon or glider may conduct operations in the airspace within 30 nautical miles of an airport listed in appendix D, section 1 of this part provided such operations are conducted—
So you MAY operate with 30 NM blah, blah, as long as you stay

(i) Outside any Class A, Class B, or Class C airspace area; and
and

(ii) Below the altitude of the ceiling of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport or 10,000 feet MSL, whichever is lower; and
and that means you must stay "below the altitude of the ceiling" (not the floor) of Class B or C or below 10000' MSL whichever is lower. In other words, you can't operate above Class B or C airspace. Now comes a new paragraph that applies to all aircraft:

(4) All aircraft in all airspace above the ceiling and within the lateral boundaries of a Class B or Class C airspace area designated for an airport upward to 10,000 feet MSL; and
So this answers the rest of your question "Can I operate in Class C?". They have already told you you can't operate in Class B or C but now they're adding that you can't operate in the lateral boundaries of them either. No exceptions here. Now comes a new paragraph that gives you another exception:

(5) All aircraft except any aircraft which was not originally certificated with an engine-driven electrical system or which has not subsequently been certified with such a system installed, balloon, or glider—

(i) In all airspace of the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia at and above 10,000 feet MSL, excluding the airspace at and below 2,500 feet above the surface; and
So you can legally operate at and above 10000' MSL with no transponder (but not over Class B & C). Other aircraft cannot

(ii) In the airspace from the surface to 10,000 feet MSL within a 10-nautical-mile radius of any airport listed in appendix D, section 2 of this part, excluding the airspace below 1,200 feet outside of the lateral boundaries of the surface area of the airspace designated for that airport.
Again, this doesn't apply to you because you don't have an engine driven electrical system so you may operate within 10 miles of appendix D airports sfc to 10000'. Others without a transponder cannot.

Disclaimer: I think this is right but I'm not an ultralight guy. As I read it, you can generally operate most anywhere you'd want to fly but not in, over or under Class B & C. You can fly inside the Class B veil but not in the lateral boundaries of Class B
 

Turd Ferguson

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I would take any Rebecca MacPherson interpretation with a grain of salt. She was wrong more often than she was right. Many of her interpretation letters have been reversed.
 

proppastie

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I would take any Rebecca MacPherson interpretation with a grain of salt. She was wrong more often than she was right. Many of her interpretation letters have been reversed.
Just what I needed to hear.....I will add that several that I am aware of non electrical system aircraft operate in the vail below the floor of the Philadelphia class B airspace. One has even talked to FAA when a complaint was issued about "non-transponder equipped" did not show up on a local wag's traffic display. There was no problems after he explained he was a 1939 aircraft with no electrical system. Your local FAA may differ, let us know if so.
 

Mcmark

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Before 9/11 we operated under the class B veil in DC without a Transponder or radio. Never had an issue. Can't do it today.
 

proppastie

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Before 9/11 we operated under the class B veil in DC without a Transponder or radio. Never had an issue. Can't do it today.
The gliders left Fredrick when the tower went in, are they now outside the class B veil?
 

Dana

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Before 9/11 we operated under the class B veil in DC without a Transponder or radio. Never had an issue. Can't do it today.
But DC is a special flight rules area, no? Other class B's still allow flight in the veil with no transponder if no engine driven electrical system.

Dana
 
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